Fresh $630m investments to modernise US hydropower facilities

The funding will cover improvement projects that will make hydropower plants more energy efficient and resilient

Big Zero Report 2022

Fresh investments totalling nearly $630 million (£520m) has been announced to modernise hydropower facilities in the US.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a request for information (RFI), seeking feedback to inform the investments from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectricity Incentives Programme and Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives Programme.

The funding will cover improvement projects that will make hydropower plants more energy efficient and resilient.

According to the DOE, hydropower facilities currently supply 6% of all electricity in the US and account for 93% of all utility-scale energy storage.

However, it believes many hydropower plants require upgrades to become more efficient or better integrated with renewable energy sources.

Through the programmes, incentive payments totalling $553.6 million (£457m) will be made to enhance existing hydropower facilities directly related to three main areas: grid resiliency, dam safety and environmental improvements; and around $75 million (£62m) will be provided to owners and operators of hydropower plants who may apply for funding to increase efficiency by at least 3%.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “Water is one of humankind’s oldest methods of generating energy, and with technological advancements, we can harness this renewable power as a core driver for the nation’s clean energy transition.

“The investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law recognise that hydroelectricity is essential to strengthening the power grid and providing reliable, clean and affordable energy for our communities as we transition to a net zero economy.”

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